When I got home from work today, I made dinner and then watched 2 episodes of The Simpsons, all the while dreading what I had told myself and God I would do today: go talk to my neighbor Patty about what she believed.
I toyed with the idea of just putting it off until tomorrow or not doing it at all. As I was watching commercials of people who were happy and enjoying their life, I felt bitterness in my heart toward God. “Why can’t I just be content in my own little, comfortable bubble? Why do I feel the need to go out there and take risks? Why can’t I just be concerned with myself?”
I had almost decided to not do it but the feeling of laziness and my desire to not spend the whole night on the couch doing absolutely nothing but watch TV made me get up. In an almost robotic motion, I brushed my teeth, grabbed the jelly jar to return to Patty, and walked next door.
God answered my prayers.
I talked to Patty about random things for a little while: her teeth, fish tanks, jelly canning. Then I asked her what I had planned to ask her: “Travis and I were wondering if you and Fern [her mom] would want to come to church with us this Sunday?”
Patty replied that they weren’t really churchgoing people, that church made her uncomfortable, that she had her own beliefs. I asked, “Would you be willing to talk about what you believe?” And she was. I was over at her house for about an hour talking to her about God and Jesus and praying and religion. I was pumped that I had actually done it; but I was also sad when I heard Patty say what she believed. Most of her beliefs she formed herself, through picking and choosing from other religions. Most of it isn’t biblical. But she’s open to talking more about her beliefs! And I have these little pamphlet thingys I got from Campus Outreach that explain things like “Is truth relative?” “Is the Bible reliable?” “Is God fair?” etc. that I think I will utilize the next time I go over to talk to her.
But I’m just pumped that I shared my faith (and explained the gospel at least twice)!! I actually did it! And I know that it was God who enabled me to go over there. I stumbled when trying to explain a few things and was starkly reminded of my lack of memorized Bible verses. But I did it. I was faithful to God’s leading. I am amazed at myself and even more, I am amazed at God. That He would be willing to work with such a coward as me is humbling.
That is the one thing that Patty felt the strongest against: that I shouldn’t feel like I don’t deserve to go to heaven, because (in her words) I do deserve it. She was surprised that Travis felt the same way. I tried to explain to her that knowing I am a sinner saved only by grace and not by anything I have or will do is the thought that gives me hope. I tried to explain that it was a good thing, that it humbled me and made me appreciate what Christ did on the cross all that much more. But she didn’t understand it. It’s one of those things that is music to the believer’s ears but a stumbling block to those who don’t believe.
Just a few reminders to close:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24
“But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Hebrews 9:26
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3: 23-24
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together in Christ…” Ephesians 2:4-5
I wouldn’t want it any other way. Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ!